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I am a novice
in this kind of love,
the “build more love
on top of love strong enough
to be built on top of”
kind of love

before you
—I guess it goes
without saying, or
we wouldn’t be here—
I was only ever exposed
to the kind that can
barely be counted on
not to buckle
under its own weight.

I only ever learned
to carry love gingerly
like a flickering moment
that might fly away,
and I only spoke love
in segments and scenes
and poems
that derive their beauty
from the romance
of uncertainty,
sweet but bitter.
Every goodbye was
a death, a burning,
a begrudging inch
in the evolution of
understanding a love
that, I was becoming
convinced, only came
in one size and color.

You have to teach me
to hold love differently,
to sleep at night
not afraid that we are
a day’s journey farther
apart, away from the magic
that we found
in the beginning,
to remember that you
will be here tomorrow
and every morning after,
when our love
is new and old, unchanged
and rising from one
tier of strength
and tenderness
to the next.

“Some Stairs and a Look” by photographer Corin Bishop


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